What is God’s job?
Do you remember your first job? Mine was working as a stock clerk at a local dollar store. I was 15 years old, and minimum wage was $4.25/hour.
This past fall, I helped lead Creative Calling: Integrating Faith & Work, a workshop co-sponsored with the Presbyterian College in Montreal. Over six weeks we deepened our knowledge of vocation and calling. The first question we asked participants was this: What is God’s job?
We cannot align our work with God’s work, unless we can answer that question. The resounding answer to this question, as told by Scripture, is this— God is putting a divided, broken world back together again. He is reconciling people to himself, reconciling people to one another, and reconciling creation to its creator.
As the People of God, we were meant to participate with God in this work of redeeming, reconciling, and renewing all things. That is the Gospel, the “news of God’s good,” and we are all invited to align our lives with this work of God.
Our Organizational Vocation
The word “vocation” comes from the same Latin root as “vocal,” and “to call.” Over my first year, I’ve been listening intently to God’s call for Christian Direction. I’ve listened through prayer and Scripture, but I’ve also listened to our staff, and our partners. I have looked for our unique ‘shape’ and the nature of our everyday work.
Our calling as an organization is deeply rooted in our heritage. That heritage spans over 50 years of collaborating with congregations and community organizations. Christian Direction has always balanced proclamation and demonstration; loving God and loving neighbor through word and through deed.
When I consider our rich heritage, our talented team, and the opportunities before us, I observe that our vocation is nurturing the Whole Mission of God in Montreal and to inspire it in Quebec. As a team we have identified three primary ways we do this.
Connecting people – From various church traditions, and from various community organizations
Shaping urban practitioners – Contributing to a leadership pipeline to sustain the Mission of God
Developing initiatives – Birthing new ideas, and helping others bring their initiatives to life
Here are some examples…
In the West Island, we are connecting leaders. The West Island Network creates synergy among local churches to impact their communities. WIN also serves as a vital link to community services. Through WIN, leaders participate in community-based initiatives like the poverty reduction round table.
Through our Urban Labs, we are forming urban practitioners. Our team provides spiritual and practical training in urban mission. Throughout the year, students and young adults participate in various programs such as our Urban Labs. These programs serve as a vital greenhouse for a next generation of urban mission practitioners.
We are developing Initiatives. At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, several Christians came to us with concern for the food security of their downtown neighbors. Innovation Assistance was quickly born to serve a neighbourhood without a foodbank. Our team now coordinates nearly 70 volunteers and delivers food to 277 households.
God’s impatient kingdom…
As I consider all that is going on in our world right now, I'm left with one singular thought: that God's Kingdom has never been so impatiently trying to push through into our world. God’s inestimable love for humanity and creation aches to breakthrough to our society and its systems and structures. As we seek to align our work with the wonderful work of God, I want to personally invite you to partner with us, but more importantly partner with God in his redeeming, reconciling, and renewing work.
I’m pleased to report that we ended our year in an encouraging financial position. Not unexpectedly, our general donations were down some. Like many other charities, we received help from government subsidies in 2020. Throughout a challenging year, we continually received generous responses to specific needs and projects. This allowed us to end 2020 with a surplus, ready to begin a new year of God’s work.
2020 brought lots of change to Christian Direction, including temporary and permanent lay-offs, and the departure of Glenn and Sandy Smith from our fold. We also closed several projects and ministries initiatives. Other ministries took root and grew rapidly. 2021 will be a year of finding our equilibrium. We will need to continue innovating in order to sustain long term health and growth.
As this new year begins, we are encouraged and excited about the work God is inviting us into, and we extend that invitation to you! We invite you to read every letter, pray and rejoice along with us, give generously as you are able, and to be inspired in your own work and witness. Thank you for working with us, and may God’s kingdom continue to breakthrough and take root among us.